Saturday, June 20, 2009

Part 2: The Blended Learning Conference

I came with limited funds. To save money, I decided to travel to the University by coach and by bus. In any case, from Stansted Airport - it was the most practical way to get to the University. And so, I arrived without much fuss and without fanfare. I was put up at Watton, one of the Halls of Residences: Room 11, Flat 4 - a small but nevertheless cozy abode:
 
The 2-day Blended Conference was well-attended. I dutifully listened to the keynote speeches as well as took part in many of the plenary sessions. Some of these were really interesting, e.g. “Mobile Blended Learning” presented by Philip Barker, University of Teeside; “Promoting Collaboration through Social Bookmarking” presented by Dr. Guy Saward, University of Hertfordshire; and “Video Learning Journals” by John Hayes, Sheffield Hallam University (Note: My ECU students are already familiar with writing reflective journals, but this is using the Sony PSP instead).
I was in Session 52 (originally scheduled as Session 24) and the topic that I presented was titled “A qualitative study of blended learning in Malaysian tertiary institutions”.
As is expected, I moved around and got to know as many people as I could – during the sessions, over dinner and especially over free-flowing beer (in case anyone misunderstood this, what I meant was the beer may have flowed freely, but we still had to pay for the beers).
Some of those with whom I had the pleasure to have made the acquaintance include Lorna Dodd, senior lecturer of Psychology at Newman University College; Anna Marie Holloway, Learning Technologist, also from Newman University College; James Wilson, e-Learning Developer at Writtle College; Simon Starr, Learning Technologist at Canterbury Christ Church University, and Prof. Mark Brown, Director of Distance Education at Massey University, NZ.
Overall, it was an invaluable learning experience for me as an academician from Malaysia. I was really glad I came.

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